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Stafford officials appoint a new county registrar
BY JONAS BEALS
Before the electoral board meeting even started, Stafford County Registrar Sharon Persinger was clearing out her desk.
A few minutes later, the three-member board voted 2-1 to replace her with newcomer Greg Riddlemoser.
The last act of Persinger's 25-year career was packing up a small Statue of Liberty replica. She took her things and walked out.
Jennifer Janis and Anna Ott, the only two employees in the voter registration office, appeared shocked by the board's decision.
"I don't think you guys know what you just did," Janis told the board.
Persinger and her staff have concerns about whether the new registrar can hit the ground running as fast as he needs to. Riddlemoser will take over the office tomorrow.
The Board of Supervisors' redistricting plan was just approved by the Department of Justice, and there will be primary elections on Aug. 23. State redistricting has added new Senate and House of Delegates districts in Stafford, and primary absentee ballots are supposed to be sent to voters on July 8.
Electoral Board member Doug Filler, who supported Persinger, said that any loss of office staff or volunteer election officials at such a critical time "would be potentially catastrophic."
Ott and Janis said that many poll workers have already told them they would not continue if Persinger was replaced.
If that does happen, Riddlemoser will have to pick up the pieces along with the $74,526 annual salary that goes with the position. Of that, $58,359 is reimbursed by the state.
Riddlemoser, a 52-year-old retired Air Force colonel from Idaho, has lived with his family in Stafford since 1999. He served as a member of the School Board in his hometown of Meridian, Idaho, in the early 1990s, but he has not held political office in Stafford. He is looking forward to serving his community.
"It's one of the most important jobs in the county," he said.
Local voting registrars are appointed to four-year terms by the locality's electoral board. Persinger served one term, but worked for years under former registrar Ray Davis.
Electoral Board members are appointed by a circuit court judge, based on recommendations from local political party leaders.